Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Wednesday June 10, 2015

Heirloom Meals Recipe Project

Preserving your family food memories into a tangible legacy for future generations.

  • Have you ever just wished you had asked your Mom or Grandmother for that special family recipe?
  • Are there stories that you vaguely remember your grandfather or uncle telling during family dinners or holidays?
  • Have you been talking about collecting your family recipes together in one place but never do it?
  • Can you recall snippets of your family mealtime? How about your grandmother’s kitchen?

The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project will bring your pens and your pots together.

Putting pen to paper and writing about family food memories is a lofty goal.  Many would rather do laundry than sit down and write.  A blank page is intimidating!
How many times have you looked at your recipe box/folder/binder you created OR the one you inherited, and longed to have them in one place to SHARE?
What about those recipes that aren’t written down – how do you preserve those intuitive concoctions that take you back to your childhood table?

The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project is an 8-week program designed to help you write your family food history, organize your recipes and result in YOUR Heirloom Meals Recipe Book.


Unlike most online options, our program and template has ample space for your narrative story, recipes, family photos and scans of stained recipe cards.  While recipes are wonderful, it’s the stories that give them their full flavor.

In the workshop, I will guide you through the process of writing your family food narrative, headnotes for your recipes, and collecting all the supporting photos that will result in a treasured book to share with your family. Think of me as your Edible Legacy Coach!

Each week, I will email you a workbook with writing prompts and other exercises.  We will have an hour-long live call.  We will have a private facebook page to build community, post our progress and share our stories.

The goal is to chronicle your family food history.  Your written story will emerge as a result of responding to the prompts. We will ultimately combine that with your recipes with headnotes, and photos, and build it into your very own hard copy Heirloom Family Cookbook.

The workshop is designed to produce an end-product.  It provides that accountability we all crave to keep a project like this on track, and to get finished!!

The Details

  • 8 Modules
  • Live one-hour coaching calls
  • Homework each week
  • Access to me via email
  • 2 – 15-minute one-on-one coaching calls
  • No fussing with designing content – just upload and leave the rest to us
  • In approximately 4 weeks, you will receive one, hardcover, color Heirloom Family Recipe Book
  • Price $999

Module One: Let’s start at the beginning

Module Two: A Sense of place

Module Three: The story is the thing

Module Four: It’s all about feelings

Module Five: It’s all about the food

Module Six: Concoctions into Recipes

Module Seven: Headnotes

Module Eight: Putting it all together



It has been said that because so much of our lives today are documented in technology that we chance to loose our history and stories in these devices.  Carole Murko has offered a gift of leading us through the writing of our families’ food history and memories so that they are not lost and can be passed down for generations to come.  She takes you on a beautiful, emotional, supportive and loved filled journey that is a gift unto itself.  With her warm and creative guidance you create together a memoir that you never realized was inside of you waiting to be shared with those you love.   This is a gift to give to yourself, to a friend, to family.  Everyone should experience this journey with Carole Murko. 

Debby Edwards, Chicago, IL


Carole takes you on a journey through all five of your senses as she guides you through the delicious and colorful food memories of your childhood and family. She taps you into the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the food and traditions that weave our family memories into the tapestry of our lives. She takes you on a journey that will leave your mouth watering and your heart swelling with the memories of your cherished family traditions and recipes. While doing this project, I had the unexpected pleasure of connecting my children to the grandparents and great grandparents they never met. We combed through family photos, old cookbooks and scribbled on index cards, while we shared memories about the people and events we’d almost forgotten. I loved doing this with my parents. We laughed, we cried! We shared our favorite memories and spend hours one night talking about holiday dinners and our favorite dishes. What a fantastical journey through our family memories. I was reminded of the simple pleasures and the power of creating a meal and sharing it with those you love. I was reminded how powerful it is to bring the people you love together to share a meal and a life-long experience. Thank you Carole for creating the Heirloom Cookbook project and giving my family a treasure to be shared for generations to come! This was such a freakin’ blast! I loved it! My family loved! Thank you for reminding me how much I loved my grandfather’s past fagioli. I hadn’t made it in years, and it was such a pleasure to taste it and feel the love of this cherished recipe come back to life.

Laura Rothschild, San Diego, CA


The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project has been amazing on so many levels.  Carole has organized the weekly sessions in such a way to get us thinking on a big scale about our memories, then working down to a personal, intimate portrait of individuals and their favorite recipes.  

From the outset, Carole encourages her participants to consider all the influences that made them the cook, the foodie, the teacher they are today - through reflections on our most beloved childhood food memories, the marvelous old kitchens of our grandmothers and mothers, the stories we share during the fellowship of family mealtime (or informal gatherings with friends), and the anecdotes about our most beloved recipes.  The process has reintroduced us to many 'old friends' in the kitchen (both beloved family recipes and new discoveries), sparked conversations with family about their memories of cooking together and sharing meals, and above all, produced a collection of favorite recipes and stories that will surely become our go-to book for our favorite recipes.  

Through this process, I've not only reconnected with many, many 'old friends' in my kitchen, I have also captured the stories that gently cocoon those friends, warming my heart throughout the years and bringing joy to so many gatherings.  I've also learned that it's great fun to write about food - not only critiques, but the back-story, the genesis, and the emotional connection.  And I'm fairly good at it!!  What an utter pleasure it's been to share this journey with women who have equally great stories to share, all the while encouraging each other, asking questions, and having more memories stirred up!

Amy Holich Moscaritolo, Northampton, MA


Under Carole Murko's thoughtful, sensitive guidance, I was able to complete a project I've been meaning to do since my Grandmother passed away in 1992: put together a family keepsake of cherished recipes that might otherwise have been lost, a unique and invaluable gift, that will last for generations.

Stephanie Ann Smith, Gainsville, FL


If you get the chance to do Heirloom Meals, do it!  You will not believe how much fun it is to recall all the loved ones of your past, journey back to your childhood recalling the foods you grew up loving, and interacting throughout the whole program with wonderful women experiencing the same process.  Carole has a joyful manner for introducing each step in the progression of the book development and a meaningful way of guiding you and your memory back to the tastes and all the senses of earlier times.  The book you will create will be a treasure for your children and grandchildren.

I am so grateful I have had the opportunity to make this journey with Carole.

Nona Thompson, Hallowell,Maine


Through Carole's prompts for memory and writing exercises, I realized the richness of the memories I hold around food and family! Tables and tableaux I had not thought about for years! The heirloom meals project wraps your family recipes with love and reminds you of what to hold dear. Ending up with a family cookbook is the treasure that results!

Laura Tiberi, Westerfield, OH

Saturday August 01, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook by Lawrence Davis-Hollander

Tomato: A Fresh-from-the-Vine Cookbook

Tomatoes are often seen as the humble fruit, taking the backseat to more vibrant and exciting options like artichokes, asparagus, or peppers, but when they’re picked at the height of summer, they possess a flavor complex in its simultaneous sweetness and acidity, that is made all the more delicious with just a single sprinkling of salt.

Author Lawrence Davis-Hollander understands this in his cookbook Tomato, and gives us visuals accompanying his recipes which exhibit the fruit’s simplistic beauty. His recipes center in upon the tomato to give them interest and depth, showcasing a spectrum of different varieties as the base to sauces and salsas, allowing any heirloom paste tomato to be the focus of his Italian-Style Fresh Tomato Sauce, what he calls a “basic, unadorned recipe.” The flavors are anything but boring though, as Hollander’s restraint in the number of ingredients allows you to taste the delicious quality of a freshly-picked tomato.

As the founder of the Eastern Native Seed Conservancy, Lawrence highlights not only the taste of the tomato, but the importance of their preservation alongside preserving our traditional eating experiences, saying that coming together for a meal “... is a legacy that needs to be passed down to our children and reinforced at home. The hearth was and is the gathering place for family and friends. Eating is one of the most basic and pleasurable experiences as human beings.” Lawrence captures the essence of his work at the seed conservancy and his passion for heirloom tomatoes in his book. It is informative, inspirational, useful and beautiful. Go out and find those heirlooms, get Lawrence’s book, and enjoy eating tomatoes to your heart’s content!

Saturday July 25, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
The Cleaner Plate Club by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin

The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time

I’m sure you have memories of trying to get your children to take just one bite of pasta primavera, a relatively-mild dish whose abundance of vegetables would provide nearly their entire daily requirement. It’s also possible that you’re still struggling with this. If you belong to the latter group, Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin’s book The Cleaner Plate Club is the answer you’ve been looking for.

This isn’t a book with an exclusive focus on “kid food” palates. It is filled with tips and recipes for moving away from giving into your child’s desire to eat all-white meals (a carb overload of plain pasta and sandwich bread) and that foster a life-long love of eating instead. Leading off with the Ruth Reichl quote “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious”, this book presents itself as a push to get families to engage with one another over meals that everyone appreciates and enjoys.

The Cleaner Plate Club begins with a comprehensive look at why children eat the way they do and how parents can work with this to encourage them to eat a variety of delicious and healthy foods. It aims to equip readers with the skills to be inspired by the local produce at farmer’s markets and the knowledge essential to navigating supermarkets, both of which ensure that you are making informed food purchases.

The recipes themselves highlight vegetables, outlining their wide array of nutrients, explaining how to select and store them, followed by a simple and quick recipe like Roasted Asparagus or Cider-Braised Brussels Sprouts. You’ll be set up for success with easy, weeknight recipes like Pumpkin-White Cheddar Soup or Lamburgers in pita, which all take less time than relying upon the drive-through window.

The writing and goal of The Cleaner Plate Club is unpretentious; it is simply focused on allowing children to enjoy well-made, home-cooked meals with their family.


Saturday July 18, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
Put ‘em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton

Put 'em Up!

Sherri Brooks Vinton opens Put ‘em Up! with the dedication: “For all of the home cooks who nourish family and friends, culture, and tradition.” Because of this beginning, I know that the food preserving cookbook is entirely consistent with the Heirloom Meals goal of reflecting upon the past with the recipes we make today.

You open the book to colorful backdrops and prints that do not overwhelm the eye but rather complement one another and add to the excitement and energy of the text. Vinton organizes recipes by the ingredient she wants to showcase, from apples to watermelon, discussing the different varieties that work best with specific techniques and making storage recommendations based upon the fruit or vegetable’s particular qualities. She goes into detail about blanching, making granita, categorizing jams and jellies by the fruits’ pectin levels, and illustrates each step with drawings of their technique. Her recipe for Curried Cauliflower brings color and flavor to a vegetable often seen as boring in appearance and bland in flavor. The Roasted Garlic is perfect to have around for adding to goat cheese to create a dynamic spread or eaten simply on its own atop a lightly-buttered slice of toast.

This isn’t a book only about recipes, but one that focuses also on how putting up food contributes to a sustainable agriculture. She says that canning is one of the most effective ways of getting the most from growing your own food. Vinton is an advocate for the benefits of preserved foods that allow you to lock in the flavor of the warmer months’ bounty. She emphasizes the simplicity in this method of cooking and discusses canning as a crucial component in the slow food movement. It supports both the producer and consumer while being respectful to the environment throughout the process

Vinton attributes the recipes’ development to both her Polish and Southern roots, basing the flavor combinations on the traditions of both these backgrounds. However, it is working with her dual heritage as well as the collaborative effort of both creativity and science that makes these preservations delicious and safe to eat. This book is exactly what you need to harness the beauty and warmth of summer so that you may enjoy it all winter long.

Saturday July 11, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
Cookie Swap by Julia Usher

Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year

Cookies are often described as the single baked good you cannot mess up. With all of the variety in technique and design, I’m sure there’s more than a few places where you could go wrong, but all of these options allow for freedom and ingenuity in your cookie repertoire - which is exactly what Julia Usher takes advantage of in Cookie Swap.

Her creations are colorful, ingenious, and almost too-beautiful-to-eat. Detailed photos complement the recipes, enticing you to make her Lemon-Thyme Bonbons and eat them all yourself. Julia also warns you with the complexity level of the cookie, the amount of active time the recipe requires, and a few prep tips, so you know what you’re getting yourself into before you start.

Recipes are categorized by reasons to celebrate, with eight different swaps that designate appropriate cookie varieties for a garden party and pairs these with adorable DIY save-the-dates and crafts that continue upon the theme. I have the “Affair of the Heart” theme marked off for a Valentine’s Day swap (I can’t wait to make the Gingerbread Valentine Invitations come February!) as well as the “Deck the Halls” party to give some glitz and glam to the holidays, because who could resist Eggnog Cheesecake Streusel Bars?

Cookie Swap covers all elements of a party, from the decorations to the treats. With all of her amazing confectionary creations, Julia Usher proves the point that cookies can (and do) make the party.

Saturday July 11, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
Pie Contest in a Box by Gina Hyams

Pie Contest in a Box: Everything You Need to Host a Pie Contest

What could be more fun than gathering with friends and family to sample delicious pies? Gina Hyams couldn’t think of a better reason to celebrate! With her Pie Contest in a Box, she gives you everything you need to host an all-American pie contest. The kit includes a contest handbook, badges for the pie judges (a job everyone wants!), scorecards, and ribbons for the best-tasting pie.

What I most enjoy about Pie Contest in a Box is that it honors the tradition of pie baking, allowing contestants not only to showcase their delicious creations, but also to share the stories that are associated with their pies. The kit’s accompanying book explains the importance of pie, saying that “Pie contests are a way for families and communities to unite on common ground. You might fight about politics or religion, but everyone agrees that pie is good.” The goal of this kit is supports Heirloom Meals’ mission because it emphasizes the community that food can build and the stories from the past that get shared along with it.

Pie Contest in a Box is a way to honor friends and family members for their secret pumpkin pie recipe beyond your second slice at Thanksgiving. Gina sees food not only as nourishment, but as love, an emotion that is most easily communicated in offering forth a piece of pie.

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